Making Sense of Media
Making Sense of Media is Ofcom’s programme of work to help improve the online skills, knowledge and understanding of UK adults and children.
We do this by sharing our own insights, based on evidence and research, and by galvanising the wider media literacy community to progress and pilot activities and initiatives in support. This work builds on Ofcom’s substantial body of research into the UK’s media habits, attitudes and critical understanding.
In this section you can find links to our relevant media literacy and online market research, along with other information about Making Sense of Media, including our advisory panel and details on how to join our stakeholder network.
Ofcom defines media literacy as "the ability to use, understand and create media and communications in a variety of contexts".
This builds on Ofcom’s duties to promote media literacy, as set out in the Communications Act 2003.
Media literacy matters for so many reasons. It matters that we can all participate online. It matters that those on the edges of our society can also benefit from being connected. It matters that we all know not just how to stay safe online, but to have the skills and confidence to flourish online. To do the things we enjoy, access the services we need, and connect with those we love.
Media literacy allows people to have the skills, knowledge and understanding to make full use of the opportunities presented by both traditional and new communications services. Being media literate online is fundamental to how people act as consumers, users and digital citizens.
The central role that media literacy plays online also has implications on people’s wider lives. This includes enabling users to participate in public life, to sustain healthy relationships with others, to access and receive information and to critically form and express opinions.
Ofcom has a statutory duty to promote media literacy, as set out in section 11 of the Communications Act 2003. We also have a duty to make arrangements to carry out research into media literacy matters, as set out in section 14(6)(a) of the Communications Act 2003.
In addition, Ofcom is the regulator for video-sharing platforms (VSPs) established in the UK. Since 1 November 2020, UK-established VSPs must comply with new rules around protecting users from harmful videos.
Our online media literacy priorities
Our approach to promoting online media literacy is multi-dimensional, and considers a number of different aspects. These include:
- what users do and experience online;
- how media literacy initiatives can promote digital skills; and
- how the design of services can impact on users’ ability to participate fully and safely online.
We will focus our online media literacy activities on five areas. You can find out more about these below.